Determining a Cat's Age

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It is likely you will not know the exact age of a cat if it is adopted or a stray. If you have just acquired a cat and need to know its age, read on.

When you are trying to guess your cat's age, you should look at the teeth, which will provide a good clue. Talk to a vet to get a more accurate age. You can determine how old a kitten is by how many teeth it has. Their "baby teeth" will first appear. Adult teeth are usually present by the time they about 8 weeks old. At the age of 3 or 4 months, the permanent teeth will come in, just like humans.
 
Adult teeth. In adult cats, an indicator of age can be the condition of the teeth. Older cats normally have more problems with their teeth such as tartar buildup or stains. Older cats over time will lose teeth. It generally depends on how amount of dental care provided to the cat in the past. These days there more dental care products for pets, so this a less reliable indicator of a cat's age.
 
Weight. A light body weight can be an indicator of a younger cat or one that was not well looked after.
 
Sexual maturity. At 5 or 6 months of age, most cats become sexually mature. Some telltale signs of this include spraying urine to mark out territory, particularly in male cats. A male cats' testicles will become more obvious at this age. In the female cat, the estrus cycle appears between 5 and 12 months. Your cat will probably talk a lot while it goes through this stage.
 
Coat. Kittens begin life with coats that are silky and super fine. An older cat will have a coat that is thicker and coarser. Even though this is a gradual change, it can help you figure if the cat is fairly young or fairly old.
 
Eyes. Healthy cats should have eyes that are bright and clear, with no cloudiness. A cat is under five years old if its eyes appear to be glassy and clear. Older cats typically display some wateriness or other discharge in the eyes, and their irises can look cloudy.
 
Baby kittens. A kitten's appearance changes quickly, making it fairly easy to figure their age. At seven to ten days their eyes open and they can stand up at 2-3 weeks old. At 4 weeks, the young kitten will start playing and exploring. These tips can be helpful if you find an abandoned litter of kittens.
 
These guidelines should help you get a rough idea of a cat's age without seeing a vet. A vet should be able to tell you fairly accurately after a full examination, the age of the cat. Not only do you satisfy your curiosity, but it is important to know a cat's age so you can give your cat the best care possible for a long, healthy life.

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Tiffany Provost has 1 articles online

Tiffany Provost writes about cat health and other pet and animal tips for HowToDoThings.com.

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Determining a Cat's Age

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This article was published on 2010/04/01